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Ford GT40 Mk II 1966 Le Mans 2nd - or 1st place??


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The 1:1 subject:
Was this the real winner of the 1966 24 hours of Le Mans?

If so, then this car, Ford GT40 Mk II Chassis 1015, could make a claim to be the most significant American racing car ever.

The infamous story started with the dominance of the Ford GT 40s at the 1966 24 hours of Le Man. After several tries at Le Mans the previous two years, Ford finally appeared to have achieved its goal. Three GT40s remained well in the lead as the clock ticked down on the 1966 race.

The controversy started after Ford gave orders for a photo finish of the 1-2-3 placeholders to cross the finish line close together. According to Charlie Agapiou, the chief mechanic for chassis 1015 (the car driven by Ken Miles and Dennis Hulme), the team believed they were a lap ahead, and thus did not need to cross the line first. However, the winning team of Chis Amon/Bruce McLaren has claimed to have been well ahead on the final laps, and that they were told to slow down by Ford executives to achieve a photo of all three cars crossing the line together. Their justification for being declared the winner is that had there been an all-out sprint to the finish, they would have easily won had they not been instructed to slow down.

A second theory holds that Ford was most interested in claiming a 1-2-3 finish, and wanted to snuff out a possibility of Ken Miles' personal accomplishment of winning Sebring, Daytona, and Le Mans in the same year overshadowing the success of the GT40s at Le Mans. This achievement had never been accomplished, still hasn't, and likely never will be completed. Ken Miles had the best opportunity.

Famously, Le Mans officials declared the black and silver No.2 car of Amon/McLaren the winner, citing the fact that since it had started further back in the field at the very beginning of the race, it had technically covered the most ground in the 24 hours (a matter of just about 60 feet overall). 

After the race, Miles was headed to winner's podium under the impression he had won. After being told by race officials that they had declared the Amon/McLaren car the winner, he was rightly furious.

Ken Miles direct quote after the race:"I think I've been f#$%#$."

In perhaps a very very thin silver lining, Miles did not have to deal with the insult and ignominy for long. He tragically died a few months later in a terrible accident while testing a Ford prototype at Riverside, California.

Miles was a fantastically successful racer (vastly underrated in my opinion) and greatly contributed to the success of the Ford and Shelby racing teams. 

Today is the 50th anniversary of Ken Miles' death. 





The Model:

This is a Revell rebox of the ubiquitous Fujimi GT 40. It even includes a photo-etched fret that has "FUJIMI" clearly printed on it. The Revell repop depicts the #2 1966 Sebring car driven by Dan Gurney.  

I have ended up with three copies of this model, the P1075 Gulf 68-69 winner, the black 1966 winner, and this car. The plastic frets are exactly the same in all three. I had been intimidated by my P1075 kit, as it is one of my very favorite racing cars of all time, and I was reluctant to make a mistake. Rest assured, this is a very simple model, and goes together easily.

The color is a custom mix of craft store acrylics, mixed to resemble Ford Arcadian blue. I masked off the front red markings to resemble the markings used to differentiate the cars. Decals were custom made and printed onto white decal paper. I soaked the original wheels in bleach to clean off the chrome, primered them in black, and airbrushed them with Tamiya gold.

I used Future for clearcoat, purposely avoiding a super glossy finish. This was not my best result, but overall was a fun car to build in honor of Ken Miles. 

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Very nice Tom.  I built P1046 awhile back.  Here are a couple of pictures of the controversial finish. 

These picture appear to show a dead heat.


However at the flagman 1046 is clearly ahead.


Edited by afx
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But Ken Miles was asked to slow down to let the other GT40s come across together. Ford's orders screwed him out of the win. Miles deserved the that win. This has been controversial from moment it happened. Some say from most angles it appeared that Miles did win. But, the officials declared that the car of..... heck, Tom explained it well enough above. Miles should have won. Miles himself was bitter about the outcome. Sad that he died a couple months later.


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Chris Amon's version of the events. Select "The Finish" at the far right tab.


That is excellent site. Its the definitive site for any and all info regarding P#1046, which I consider to be the most significant American racing car in history. That model is in my stash, and someday I will build it. Someday...

Edited by tmathew1us
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In perhaps a very very thin silver lining, Miles did not have to deal with the insult and ignominy for long. He tragically died a few months later in a terrible accident while testing a Ford prototype at Riverside, California.


I wouldn't call that a silver lining. He died a horrible death. He lost any chance to ever compete for the win at Le Mans again. I would think a win in 1967 would have lessened the pain of the f***ing he took in 1966.

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